Little Book of Qi story

by | Apr 16, 2024 | Featured Book | 0 comments

On the day of my graduation and induction into Dragon Tiger Mountain Temple, my teacher (or Sifu) gave me a statue from his altar. The white ceramic figure depicted one of the Eight Immortals revered by Taoist. The Eight Immortals are a group of people who had the power of transcendence. They are a favorite subject in Chinese arts and found in paintings, embroideries, bronzes, and ceramics. Known from the time of oral tradition their stories vary greatly. They depict honored positions or professions in human life. They usually include the leader who is a warrior with a sword, a doctor or medicine man, a hermit with a mule, a lame beggar with a double gourd, a scholar or courtier with castanets, a musician with a flute, and two may be women, the cook with a ladle, and the one with the flower basket, (which may be either male or female or both). My Sifu said the Immortal he gave me represents the scholar. He was inspired to give it to me because I always carried a notebook and asked a lot of questions. 

Forty years later I am fulfilling my mission to write down what I have found to be the most meaningful and beneficial teachings of Qigong, Tai Chi Chuan, and to explore the mysterious qualities of Qi itself in the book, Little Book of Qi, Energy for Life.  

I grew up in a working-class family with a devout Christian mother who believed, like Paul, that we should pray and meditate without ceasing. She was a dedicated Biblical scholar and believed in the healing power of the Holy Spirit. I was her “prayer partner” and witnessed many healings throughout my childhood. The powerful spirit I witnessed was undeniable, but as I grew older, I became disillusioned with fundamentalist dogma and the guilt and fear it produced. I still consider myself a Christian but turned to the study of other religions, philosophy, and science to find the truth about how energy works. 

After my marriage fell apart, I moved to Sonoma and became involved in the women’s movement. Women’s studies helped reveal why I was angry, depressed, and confused. Being dyslexic, I already lived in a strange world. It has been through my practice of Qigong and Tai Chi that I have found my way to a meaningful, happy, healthy life.

Little Book of Qi is filled with stories of my teachers, especially Sifu Nam Singh and our relationship, his understanding of the esoteric traditions of Tai Chi as well as the martial art aspect. He studied with a student of Chen Man Ching with lineage from the Yang style. My Sifu is a Chinese herbalist, yogi, swordsman, and keeps the traditions of a Taoist priest and Traditional Chinese Medicine. 

My purpose in writing this book is to share the challenges of living in harmony with nature. It includes my back to the land adventures in a commune of women dealing with water systems and raising chickens, goats, and a garden and my relationship with this art form relating stories about how Qigong and Tai Chi evolved. I include how the ancient Chinese culture unfolded the mysteries of nature and the natural order of the universe. I also present seventeen simple Qigong practices for better balance, calmness, and clarity, using slow, even movements.

I share my understanding of how the ancients began to question and discover the qualities of the life-force or vital energy, they called Qi. They diagramed it in symbols, categorized its elements and qualities, discovered its healing capacity, and created a choreography to dance with it. Qigong and Tai Chi are that dance. These practices have survived many centuries because they work. Qigong and Tai Chi are prescriptions that you give yourself through daily practice. It costs nothing but your time. The investment returns good health, long life, and happiness.

My hope is that the Hong Kong book fair in July of 2024 will connect my book to more people who will benefit from exploring Qigong and that they will enjoy an independent woman’s perspective and adventures from the north woods of California.

 Janet Seaforth lives in northern California where she’s taught Qigong and Tai Chi for forty-five years. In 1980, she founded her own school, Po Yun Nei Kuan (PYNK), White Cloud Women’s Temple School. She created a Qigong set for health and healing, called PYNK Qigong. She participated in the first Women’s Martial Arts trainings and contended at the fifth Wushu Championships in Huang Shan, China. She has been an activist and advocate for the environment and for women, since 1973. In addition to her teaching, she has supported herself as a ceramist, a farmer, and a care giver. All of this work has enriched her understanding of Qi and has deepened her practice and her teaching.

Learn more about the Little Book of Qi: Energy for Life by Janet Seaforth. Grab a copy of her book via Amazon today!

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